London on a Budget
London is expensive. At first glance the 6.95 buffets and 1£ cups of tea seem like a steal, but consider the conversion rate between the British pound and U.S. Dollar and that buffet becomes $10.75 and that tea 1.55, which isn’t outragious but it adds up for a college student studying abroad.
So, I’ve come up with a few money saving techniques that have helped me keep my weekly expenses to a minimum and still allow me to enjoy the ocasional night out.
1. Eat in. Those little creature comforts you get with you’re morning coffee add up, especially in London and dinners can quickly get very pricy. If one has a kitchen in ones flat, or has a residential meel plan (I myself do not), at least keeping breakfast and dinner as in-home meals can go a long way towards saving for the rainy day fund.
3. Eat a substantial breakfast. I cannot properly express my frustration when people tell me they do not eat anything for breakfast. That old saying about its importance is absolutely true. Not taking this to heart throws oiff your metabolism for the rest of the day. Im not saying indulge in a full-english every day, blood pudding (it’s like soft meat loaf) beans, fish, eggs, toast, sausage and mushrooms is pushing it. I’ll fry up some toast with olive oil, some melted cheese, the ocasional egg or two and a fruit and am usually set untill lunch (although I do eat bigger breakfasts than some, as I usually run in the mornings).
3. Economize your out-of-residence meals. Now, this one may not work for everyone and I am of course not suggesting you eat an uncomfortable amount of food in a hurry; food is best when slowly and comfortably enjoyed. This being said, a hearty and satisfying lunch for a reasonable price can be found if one knows where to look. Those buffets I mentioned (think Indian buffet with breads, spinach, potatoes etc. not greasy buffets) offer alot of food for a reasonable price, which I find minimizes my hunger for a large dinner. My dinners are often far simpler, consisting of (depending on the size of my lunch) bread, olives, olive oil and vinigar and occasionally fried veggis or fish.
4. Reduce and reuse. If one needs to stock a kitchen and cook for oneself, frying pans and uensils can get very expensive. It is actually quite surprising just how many uses different utensils can be put too. My primary drinking glass is an old olive jar and boiled potatoes can be just as delicious if cooked in a high-rimmed frying pan. It’s not glamorous but having worked in a kitchen with a number of utensils at my disposal before, the food is no less tasty if the cooking method is a little less glamorous.
5. Walking is free. Also, its great exercise .
6. Alcohol is very much neither of those things, an observation only and not a suggestion, just something to keep in mind.
Eating in every day can be very fun and bolsters your cooking skills, which will invariably come in handy at some point in your life. Enjoy!
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